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Dante Alighieri and his stay in Padua

Aktualisiert: 3. Aug. 2022

The Scrovegni Chapel has a certain Dantean character, but is it true that Dante joined his compatriot Giotto here in Padua?

It is almost certain that Dante and Giotto met in Padua around 1303. The poet, expelled from Florence in 1302, had gone into exile there, and the painter was beginning his greatest masterpiece: the frescoes of the Arena Chapel. Perhaps they already knew each other?

In any case, Giotto's art is probably the origin of Dante's invention. The Tuscan word used until then, artigiano, which means craftsman, could not, in the poet's mind, suit such a genius. He therefore invented the word artista, which would only really be used during the Renaissance.

It is thus to qualify the genius of Giotto that the poet Dante invented the word "artist".

It is also said that many of the concepts expressed in the Last Judgment were suggested to Giotto by Dante himself. So whether or not Giotto and Dante spent time together in Padua, we will probably never know...

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